tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC July 25, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
let your member of congress know. if you believe we can solve this problem through compromise, send that message. >> the white house communications director dan pfeiffer tweeted that the servers on capitol hill crashed after the president made that plea for people to get in touch with their congressional representatives. after the president's speech, house speaker john boehner spoke for roughly five minutes and he came out against president obama's proposals. >> president obama came to congress in january and requested business as usual. he had another routine increase in the national debt, but we in the house said, not so fast. here is was the president asking for the largest debt increase in american history, on the heels of the largest spending binge in american history. and here's what we got for that
massive spending binge, a new health care bill that most americans never asked for, a stimulus bill that is more effective at producing material for late night comedians than it was in producing jobs. and a national debt that has got son out of hand, it it sparked a crisis without precedent in my lifetime or yours. >> speaker boehner said he would bring the new republican plan that was unveiled today, the one that would raise the debt ceiling in two steps to a vote this week. that new republican plan has already been rejected by the tea party republicans in the house for not being extreme enough. here's how the head of the nonpartisan center on budget and policy priorities, bob greenstein, a frequent guest on this show, described that plan today. house speaker john boehner's new budget proposal would require deep cuts in the years immediately ahead in social security and medicare benefits
for current retirees. the repeal of health reform's coverage expansions or wholesale evisceration of basic assistance programs for vulnerable americans. the plan is, thus, tantamount to a form of class warfare. if enacted, it could well produce the greatest increase in poverty and hardship produced by any law in modern united states history. this may sound hyperbollic, but it is not. the mathematics are inexorable. on a night when the democratic president and the republican speaker of the house both had the chance to address the american people, it is worth remembering why the american people stand on the issues at hand. a pew poll released just last week shows 50% of republicans, 53% of independents, and 72% of
democrats say we should maintain social security and medicare instead of reducing the debt. in that same poll, 87% of respondents said social security is a good program for the country. 88% say medicare is a good program for the country. and, five, yes, five national polls released this month found that an overwhelming majority, an average of 67%, say deficit reduction must be a balance of spending cuts and revenue increases. the balanced approach referred to by the president tonight by comparison, only 26% on average support deficit reduction through spending cuts alone. joining me now, democratic congressman rob andrews of new jersey and republican congresswoman marcia blackburn of tennessee. congresswoman blackburn, the
republican position of no revenue uses at all in deficit reduction is supported by only 26% of the american people. how can the republicans maintain that they are in any way acting as representatives of the people when they are taking a position that supposis opposed by over 7 the people. >> i find it interesting you would phrase the question that way. one thing we hear repeatedly from people from coast to coast is that washington doesn't have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. and what the american people would really like to see us do is to get this out of control, wasteful washington spending under control. we have heard from economists, from coast to coast, there, again, who have said, what you have to do is move forward with the spending reduction plan. they want to see that. the ratings agencies want to see it. we can't continue on this
trajectory. this president has spent $7.3 trillion. we haven't had a budget in 800 something days and $3.4 trillion of what he has spent is debt. we're borrowing 40 cents of every dollar that is spent. we have to get a handle on this. number one thing is to get the spending under control. and cut cap and balance, cut being the first part of that, that is the step that we have agreed should be taken first and quite frankly i think there are plenty of polls out there that show the american people also agree with that, that spending reductions have to take place. >> no, congresswoman there are no polls out there, no polls out there that support the republican position. i just told you -- >> cnn had a poll that did. >> 67% -- >> cnn had a poll that did. >> reduction must be a balance. and my question to you, congressman is, i know you come
on television and do your talking points. >> no. >> but when you close the door and have a republican caucus in the house, do you actually lie to each other about the polls there or does anyone in that room say, hey, this is getting politically difficult, our position is opposed by 67% of the people? does anyone say that in your caucuses? anyone refer to real polls? >> well, the way you phrase that is insulting. and i think that you know that. >> i don't think it is. congresswoman, i know you're defying the polls now. i'm asking you, in your private discussions, does anyone mention real polls or do you all just do these fake talking points to each other? is that the way you sound, talking to each other behind closed doors? >> we are focused on making certain that the steps we take are going to honor the commitment that we have taken, the oath of office that we have taken, to make certain that we put this nation on a firm
financial footing. what we do not want to do is have the nations that hold our debt, china being one, japan number two, the uk number three, and opec number four, those are the entities that hold our debt. china owns about 25% of that. what we don't want to do, lawrence, is to cap our children's future and trade it to the people that hold that debt. this is a very serious issue. it is one where we cannot kick the can down the road. what we are saying is let's get this addressed. and we are certain that we have put good plans on the -- you know, the president doesn't have a plan. he has yet to put a plan on the table. >> he has put a plan -- did you see -- congresswoman, he put a plan on the table on 6:00 p.m. on friday and in his press conference and he outlined specific cuts. >> today he didn't even want to bar us with t
bore us with the details of the plan. no, you're incorrect. >> he said republicans have walked away. >> he nhas in speeches but you can't put a speech on the board and call the vote on it. he's got a teleprompter but doesn't have a plan. >> he does have plans. congresswoman, i have to move on to congressman andrews. let's let him get a chance to speak here. you're filibustering can go on all night. he does have plans. i'm not going to let you lie about that on this show. go ahead, congressman. >> i have to say to my friend from tennessee, she's absolutely right. borrowing money from the chinese and giving the bill to our children is indefensible. we think borrowing money to give tax breaks to oil companies is indefensible when they made $77 billion in profits last year. i would ask my friend from tennessee, do you support closing those oil company tax loopholes? >> well, and one of the things that we have done and i think
chairman -- >> it is -- >> let me -- >> marcia, it is a yes or no answer. is it yes or no? >> republicans are the ones that put closing the loopholes on the table. >> so it is a yes? so it is a yes? >> we have said let's level the playing field, let's close a lot of these loopholes. >> good. so why don't we put that in the debt reduction bill? how about this one? how about the ethanol loophole where we're paying people huge amounts of money to grow corn and use it for fuel that pollutes and costs more than regular gasoline, do you support closing that loophole? >> i have supported closing that one, but, rob, you're -- what you are trying to do is -- >> when i'm trying to do is -- >> no, what you're trying to do is build a warfare issue. >> warfare? you're the one -- no, marcia, really, you're the one who is waging -- no, you're the one that is waging war over medicare recipients, social security
recipients and that's the class warfare going on. >> -- $75 billion -- >> and you put cuts in your budget. >> you cut medicare $575 billion when you passed obama care. you made a choice to do that. >> and you made the choice to -- marcia, you put -- you made the -- marcia -- >> -- today's seniors and we're very serious in doing that, and continuing those benefits. >> you know what else you're serious about? you know what else you're serious about? did you -- did you or did you not put those same medicare reductions in your budget that you voted for under paul ryan this spring? didn't you do the same thing? >> no, we have said let's -- >> did you do the same thing? >> we said let's save medicare for today's seniors and -- >> did you or did you not -- did you or did you not include those cuts in your budget? >> those -- we have a different plan. we have a plan -- >> you're saying you didn't -- you're saying you didn't include
those in your budget? >> -- for today's seniors and near seniors. >> have you read the budgeet? >> yes, i have. >> have you read the >> we have a plan. >> we do. we have the ryan budget and the budget that i have, i'm yet to get the bill that the speaker has referenced today as you are, too. the bill, we're waiting for that to be filed. we're looking forward to reading that. we understand that many of the provisions that were in the ryan budget are there. our goal is to make certain that about a whatever we do is to end wasteful washington spending. to make sure the future is right for future americans. i'm not here to be interviewed by you. >> are you here to answer questions? will you answer one question? >> listen, i'm here to do an
interview with lawrence. i was not here to be interviewed by you. >> let me just ask -- >> can i suggest -- >> suggest a question to me. >> ask her whether, she'll answer your questions, evidently. >> we'll see. >> ask her whether the ryan budget included the medicare reductions from the health care bill in it or not? >> did the rhino over do you want to take that question? >> i find it so interesting that you have a member -- >> you won't answer. >> i told you, what we're going to do. >> are there any circumstances under which you would vote for a debt ceiling increase without accompanying spending cuts? >> no. we've already put that on the floor. and we had that vote. >> congresswoman, you did vote for that. you did -- tell america the truthful you voted for it. congresswoman, tell america the truth. you voted for a 9% increase in america's debt ceiling.
>> under president bush, yes. >> it was a one sentence bill. hit no spending cuts in it. nothing in it. one sentence bill. >> you're talking about a vote in 2006. you're correct. >> why did you do that? why did you vote for a debt ceiling increase that was a one-sentence bill with no spending quhaucuts whatsoever? >> i have to tell you this. the spending is out of control. >> you won't tell cuss why you cast that vote. right? you won't answer that question. >> this president has spent more than every president from george washington to -- >> we're running out of time. i'm going to have to wrap this up. >> this spending has to stop. >> you won't answer that question. >> i've told you. we have, there has been far too much spending. the spending is out of control. we have to get it -- >> when the debt was at $7
trillion, when the debt was at $7 trillion, congresswoman, you didn't blink an eye at raising it. >> i have always run across the board cut amendments. rob andrews has never voted for any of my across the board spending cuts. >> that's right. >> and it's time that people begin to vote for these and that we reduce what the federal government spends. reduce the reach of the federal government. and make certain that we get this fiscal house of the united states in order. and republicans are focused on that. we're committed to doing that. we have a way to make certain that this government keeps its commitments on its trust funds with medicare and social secure. that we deal with entitlements and we are determined that we are going to leave this country in better shape than it is right now. it is time for us to get behind this spending issue and to get it under control.
>> can i say one more thing? >> no, you can't. because congresswoman blackburn has run out the clock tonight's mini debate. we will try to put this together. come to our blog and make your point there. i'm going to have to wrap it here. it's live television. we've got some commercials to do. >> i have not voted for spending cuts. i don't believe in cutting medicare when millionaires get off scott-free. you just did it. you voted to abolish medicare. >> no, i did not. you did that. >> okay. thank you very much for joining me tonight. and congressman blackburn, i do have an open invitation to come back at any point to explain to me why when the debt was at $7 trillion, you had no problem no, problem voting to raise the debt ceiling without $1 of spending cuts. thank you very much for joining me tonight.
come back and answer the question whenever you think you can. still ahead, let's roll it. was john boehner's direct attack on the president meant to score points with voters? or with the tea party? next, the republican plan will keep the debt crisis going for months. what will that do to the economy? former white house economic adviser joins me now. hi, we're looking to save some money on our car insurance. great! at progressive, you can compare rates side by side, so you get the same coverage, often for less. wow! that is huge! [ disco playing ] and this is to remind you that you could save hundreds! yeah, that'll certainly stick with me. we'll take it.
congress now has one week left to act. there's still pass forward. the senate introduced a plan to avoid default which makes a down payment and ensures we don't have to go through this again in six months. i think that's a much better approach, although serious deficit reduction would still require us to tackle the tough challenges of entitlement and tax reform. >> that was the president addressing the nation from the east room earlier this evening. joining me now is jerrold bernstein, the former chief economist to vice president biden. he's currently a senior fellow at the center on budget and policy priorities and an msnbc contributor. jared, first of all, let's talk about the policies now that came out on what is called the reid plan in which there's no revenue increases at all. that's the latest compromise offered by the democrats. it would offer a dollar for
dollar spending cuts to the amount of debt ceiling increase, $2.7 trillion. walk us through that, and what is your assessment of the policy in that proposal? >> the reid plan as you correctly pointed out reduces the deficit over ten years by $2.7 trillion. it's up there in the same ballpark as the other plan getting a lot of play today, the boehner plan. that's $3 trillion. $1 trillion of the reid plan comes from reduced expenditures on the war. that's somewhat controversial because some of those savings are expected to happen anyway. on the other hand republicans have consistently claimed that trillion as savings for example in the ryan budget. it cuts $1.2 trillion in discretionary spending. that's been part of the republican plan, it's part of the president's plan. when he talked tonight and talked about getting
discretionary spending down to the lowest levels in 50 years as a share of the economy, that's really what he's talking about. i think one of the key points you mentioned, really two key points. first of all, this is a plan that has no revenue in sight. ever since the beginning, including tonight, in fact, the president has talked about the importance of having some balance in the plan. if you don't have any revenue, there's too much weight on the spending side. secondly, what's very important about the plan it gets the debt ceiling increased through 2012, and that means we're not wrestling about this again in a few months. >> jared, it seems to me that all plans as they've emerged have become unrealistic politically fairly quickly, meaning some faction has erupted in the senate or house that shows you the votes don't exist in one body or the other to pass that plan. immediately there was opposition in the house to the reid plan, and so the reid plan, more than
most of them, since it's so perfectly designed to fit the republicans' initial requiring for raising the debt ceiling seems to be the republican and bluff plan, the republican embarrassment plan. here's harry reid saying, okay, here's exactly what you asked for at the outset. no revenue raises and dollar for dollar match and he watched them reject that today. wasn't that as much as anything what was going on with that reid plan? >> absolutely. what really slayed me tonight was hearing representative boehner say, you know, the problem with this white house is they won't take yes for an answer. when you think about the extent to which the president has bent over backwards, gone way out of democrats' comfort zone with significant cuts to medicare, medicaid, social security on the
table, i thought it was egregious of the congressman in the earlier segment to act like none of that occurred along with, of course, the very significant spending cuts. and then, yes, you have this plan tailored very much like the original republican plan. so clearly it's been impossible to get to yes with folks whose posture from the very beginning has been, we simply won't negotiate. >> quickly, jared, where do you see it going from here? >> i like to think that people mean it when they say there's not going to be a default, and i think that the reid plan may be as good as the republicans get. the president may ultimately have to call their bluff and do what bill daly suggested yesterday on sunday tv, and that's actually veto any plan that doesn't get the deficit ceiling raised for the long term. >> former white house economic adviser and contributor jared bernstein. thank you for joining us tonight. >> my pleasure, lawrence. coming up, the outcome of the debt debate. we'll have consequences on the presidential campaign. later, two very different tactics.
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the first time a deal was passed a predecessor of mine made a case for a balanced approach saying this. would you rather reduce deficits and interest rates by raising revenue from those not now paying their fair share, or would you rather accept larger budget deficits and higher interest rates and higher unemployment? i think you know that answer. those words were spoken by ronald reagan, but today many republicans in the house refuse to consider this kind of balanced approach. an approach that was pursued not only by president reagan, but by
the first president bush, by president clinton, by myself, and by many democrats and republicans in the united states senate. >> that was the president earlier tonight quoting ronald reagan in his call for a balanced approach to deficit reduction. joining any now, former special assistant to george w. bush and current editor of from forward and also ari melbourne. thank you both for joining me tonight. ari, did you expect to hear a democratic president quoting ronald reagan in an inspirational speech about deficit reduction? >> no, i'm afraid not. in fact, the last time that barack obama quoted ronald reagan it was during those contentious democratic primaries. he was talking about having the transformational effect. now i guess it's all going in that direction, although under dres duress.
the real problem tonight and you've been confronting it with tough questions you had to do with republican members tonight. we're in an era of the politics of bad faith, so this isn't just about normal disputes and normal tone. we have people who in the case of john boehner going on television responding to the president i thought who was rather graceful at times and definitely kind to his political adversary. we have boehner getting up there and being rude, being i think at times disrespectful and then being inaccurate in claiming he had a bipartisan vote where he didn't. in claims there's a blank check, when it's really the opposite of anyone watching. it is the politics of bad faith. that's hard to negotiate with. >> david, i tried to get on this show is the republican in the house or senate, if there is one, who would actually agree with that quote by ronald reagan, and we aren't able to find them. if they're there, they are afraid to speak publicly.
how did it come to this? >> party discipline is pretty strong, obviously. i'm not going to try to tell an msnbc audience the republicans in the house of representatives have behaved well and responsibly. obviously, they have not done that. look what the president did tonight. i discouraged him and to tell the truth i'm frightened by it. where is the red line. he talked more passionately about the need to extend the debt ceiling in time past his own re-election bid than about the underlying issues. if i'm a member of msnbc audience and maybe you gave money to the president thinking he would defend the old or poor, that is in this speech a lower priority for him than his re-election calendar. that's one of the things that made the republicans so inflamed and driven them wider than they already were. it's pushing this country to a brink of a terrible crisis. >> i'd normally agree with you if if a president said the most important thing is make sure you push this next decision off
until after the re-election campaign, except for the case the president takes a paragraph to make. saying, look how it worked this year. look what it's become. look how this works. ari, i think although the president is giving us a political line in the calendar saying do it after the election year, it is also the normal range in which we raise debt ceilings. we like to do debt ceiling increases that will last more than a year. anything else is considered very short-term. there are market reasons to do longer term debt ceilings, but they tend to be the traditional form of debt ceiling, and he does make, i think, a very reasonable case that our politics, our congressional politics and our campaign politics can't possibly handle another debt ceiling debate where we actually would have to legislate one next year. >> right. the only thing i didn't hear the
president say is that we have enough real crises. we don't need more manufactured crises. i think david is onto something about the tenor of the speech but not the motivation. i don't think there's any evidence that barack obama isn't willing to make tough political calls here to get this done. i think that's clearly proven. where i would agree a little bit with david's critique of the message, especially when we consider this is the first time people hear about this in any depth is if you actually look at the words used by obama tonight, the number one word was americans, which is kind of boiler plate in this kind of speech, and the second most common word that he repeated over and over was approach. he kept talking about this approach and that approach and all these different roads not taken. i think ultimately for people that can be a blizzard of options without a clear value statement. the value statement, of course, is that congress has already done this, and the republicans, the tea party republicans here
are like people you go out to dinner with. they order all this food, and when the bill comes they start complaining. they say you ordered this. obviously, the debt ceiling isn't about further spending because it doesn't appropriate or authorize funds. congress does that. it's about catching up with what congress has done. this is really rich to see them complain about it, when it's their spending particularly. of course, both administrations during the bush era, the medicare part d and the bush tax cuts. the cbo numbers show that, so it's rich. >> go ahead, david. >> the behavior has been pretty bad and irresponsible, but you don't need to make it worse than it is. what this debate is about is, in fact, the tea party republicans trying to deal with the spending bequeathed by the previous congress. they're re-litigated the 2008 election. >> we agree it's republican party spending. i agree with you. >> no. the 2008 elections won by the democrats and not the republicans. >> you're speaking about a record of spending that includes the bush era, right? >> the reason they're so agitated and put a cap now --
they're very unhappy with what happened over the past two years, and they see this as their moment. what is striking about the president is he doesn't defend any of that. one of the things that has been brooded about, one of the reasons he's eager for a deal is because he hopes the deal will include further measures for unemployment insurance and maybe some for the stimulus in the form of spending. the president doesn't talk about that. what he talked about was his re-election calendar. his red line and not your red line. >> i don't think there's any evidence for that. i think the president you served, president bush, had long-term deficit hikes. i don't think you can sit here and incredibly say for an msnbc audience, which is informed or any cable news audience, i don't think you can incredibly say presidents don't look for long-term increases in the debt ceiling. the only difference was tonight the president was forced to go to americans and ask for their help in raising the roof. tonight we actually have to get the public involved for something that president bush's budget director called a routine housekeeping matter.
>> this is a weak reason to get involved. >> david, that has to be the last word. thank you very much for joining us. thank you, ari. coming up, is there a good option forward for either side? richard wolf joins me. next, tim pawlenty used the michele bachmann method of campaigning. that is completely ignoring the facts. the rewrite is next.
coming up, now that the president and the speaker of the house have taken their conflicting messages to the american people, what are they actually going to do to raise the debt ceiling? richard wolf joins me. tim pawlenty pushes the republican lie, which you heard earlier on this program that president obama has not offered any plan to solve the debt ceiling crisis. that's in the rewrite next. 50 billion network devices will roam the earth. that's seven devices per person. this will change how we work
time for tonight's rewrite. as tim pawlenty's campaign continues to struggle to get traction in iowa, the candidate has decided to talk tough. he made the mistake of directing some of that tough talk at michele bachmann, whose followers he would eventually need if he gets the republican nomination. he chose to talk tough, tougher, in fact, about michele bachmann lack of executive experience than any criticism he has dared to offer of front-runner willard m. romney, and that is perhaps for constitutional reasons.
because if the worst possible thing happens to the republican party and michele bachmann becomes their nominee for president, she is in effect constitutionally forbidden from choosing tim pawlenty as her running mate because she and pawlenty are from the same state. but attacks on bachmann only increase her popularity in tea party ranks, which pawlenty must have eventually realized since he has now taken to the safer strategy of talking tough about president obama. >> the leader of the free world, would you please come to the microphone and quite hiding in the basement about your proposals and come on up and address the american people? is he chicken? >> now, remember, the guy is in a car driving around iowa all day. he can't keep up with everything happening on tv.
>> essentially what we had offered speaker boehner was over a trillion dollars in cuts to discretionary spending both domestic and defense. we then offered additional $650 billion in cuts to entitlement programs, medicare, medicaid, social security. what we said was, give us 1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking tax rates, but could simply be accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions and engaging in tax reform process that could have lowered rates generally while broadening the base. >> that was friday. and even though the president addressed the nation tonight, and went in to real specifics
about what he has proposed for deficit reduction, as well as the ideas that others have proposed, which he can support, like harry reid's latest plan that specifies the 2.7 trillion spending cuts. tim pawlenty issued this bold statement. "once again president obama did not have the courage to offer real solutions to fix runaway debt." of course, pawlenty's statement ignores what the president said tonight. no, pawlenty's statement actually lies about what the president said. >> let's live within our means by making serous historic cuts in government spending. let's cut domestic spending to the lowest level since dwight eisenhower was president. let's cut defense spending by hundreds of millions of dollars and cut waste in fraud and medicare and make modest adjustments so medicare is still there for future generations.
finally, let's ask the wealthiest americans, and biggest corporations to give up some of their breaks in the tax code and special deductions. >> even though the early polling does not offer great encouragement to the pawlenty campaign, tim pawlenty is learning to do the most important thing that leading republican presidential candidates do every day. lie about president obama. i
effective for producing material for late night comedians than it was producing jobs. and a national debt so out of hand its sparked a crisis without precedent in my lifetime or yours. >> that was house speaker john boehner speaking after the president's address to the nation tonight on the debt ceiling crisis. joining me now, msnbc political analyst richard wolf. richard, some reporters overheard speaker boehner when he was leaving. that was his national debut as a respondent to the president on this kind of address. they overheard him saying as he was leaving that response speech of his, i didn't sign up to go mano a mano with the president of the united states. it doesn't sound like boehner was particularly confident about how his speech played out there. >> it is always hard when you are going up against the president in the east room. and he didn't come off terribly
well, even though he had terribly scripted lines that sounded like they were written for someone who was writing for late-night comedians. it is ironic to say the least that republicans, who have criticized the president for not coming up with specifics would think their best rebuttal is to go with just a the cheap one liners. >> where do we go from here? these plans -- we didn't make any progress in any negotiating today. unbridgeable plans came out. what happens tomorrow? >> well, speaker boehner has, indeed, posted the legislation that he is putting forward here which means a vote could come on wednesday, at the earliest. interestingly that legislation still doesn't talk about raising the debt ceiling. we're in this mcconnell language of the debt ceiling disapproval, which is voting for a debt ceiling and pretending you haven't and thursday you would
have at the earliest point the harry reid position coming to a vote, which means there will be a great weekend when the house and senate won't agree with each other. the markets really will be spooked this time. if the house and senate couldn't agree when they are both controlled by democrats, how are they going to resolve it next weekend by the time they have all debated and voted? that means this time next week will be ugly in the financial market. >> it all can come down to a one sentence bill. that's the funny thing. as complex as they have made it so far, if we get to august 1st and it is 10:00 p.m. and they have done nothing and the pressure starts to build on what they do know how to do and what most of them have already in their careers voted for many times, which is just that one sentence that says we're going to raise this number to this number. >> but if she cannot explain why she voted for bush's debt ceiling increase on this show how will she explain to her own voters she has boxed herself in
and needs to find a way out. they need the financial markets because the wall street executives are not going to tell them. they need the market to tell them. this is serious. you have to do something here and stop playing the games. because at the moment, neither side is willing to come out of its compromise. >> remember in terms of the vote count, anyone can vote against a debt ceiling increase, as long as just enough vote to pass it. we had dick durbin on the show saying when he and barack obama voted against the debt ceiling increase as senators they knew there were enough votes to pass it. none of them were going to vote to kill the debt ceiling increase. we will see what we end up with, if we get that far. richard wolf, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> on the last word tomorrow night at 8 p.m. eastern, bill maher, host of hbo's "realtime" on his reaction to the president and congress in the stalemate over the debt ceiling. you can have the last word